business news in context, analysis with attitude

Random and illustrative stories about the global pandemic and how businesses and various business sectors are trying to recover from it, with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  In the United States, we've now had 30,774,033 total Covid-19 coronavirus cases, resulting in 559,744 deaths, and 23,196,209 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 126,203,749 total coronavirus cases, with 2,769,594 resultant fatalities and 101,822,326 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Washington Post reports that "at least 87.3 million people have received one or both doses of the vaccine in the U.S.  This includes more than 44.7 million people who have been fully vaccinated … 173.5 million doses have been distributed."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Newly reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. declined, as more states took steps to open Covid-19 vaccinations to younger residents.  The U.S. reported more than 67,000 new cases for Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University that was published early Friday. The data may update later. Thursday’s tally was down from the previous day’s total of nearly 87,000, which included backlogs of data from at least two states, but it was higher than the more than 60,000 new cases reported a week earlier."

•  From the New York Times:

"States are racing to vaccinate as many people as possible as the United States’ coronavirus infection curve continues its plateau for a third week at more than 55,000 new cases per day, a level that health experts warn could rapidly escalate into a new wave … At least 31 states have pledged to make vaccines universally available to their adult populations by mid-April, and many more have announced plans to expand eligibility on or before May 1, a goal set by President Biden. Alaska, Mississippi, Utah and West Virginia have already made all adults eligible to receive shots, and some local jurisdictions have also begun vaccinating all adults.

"The expansion comes at a critical juncture in the pandemic, with 25 states reporting persistently high infections, according to a New York Times database."

•  The New York Times reports that "Pfizer has begun testing its Covid-19 vaccine in children under 12, a significant step in turning back the pandemic … Results from the trial are expected in the second half of the year, and the company hopes to vaccinate younger children early next year."

The story says that "Moderna also is beginning a trial of its vaccine in children six months to 12 years of age. Both companies have been testing their vaccines in children 12 and older, and expect those results in the next few weeks."

•  CNN reports that "Rutgers University is requiring students attending classes in person this fall to be vaccinated against Covid-19," making it one of just a few US universities to establish such a mandate.

The story says that "students may request an exemption for medical or religious reasons, the university said. Otherwise, proof of vaccination will be required for all students attending in-person classes."

I think this is a smart move - the kind of thing that we should expect from an institution of higher learning.  I suspect there will be some court challenges - legal scholars suggest that this kind of mandate falls into a gray area - but if I had a kid going off to college, that's what I'd want.

•  Reuters reports that Amazon "is rolling out on-site COVID-19 vaccination for its U.S. front-line employees, it said on Thursday, as companies step up efforts to get their workers immunized against the coronavirus.

"The e-commerce company, which has also been testing employees for COVID-19, said that on-site vaccination programs would first start in Missouri, Nevada, and Kansas and then expand across the country as more vaccines become available."

•  From Variety:

"New York City is taking steps to revive the theater industry, a sector of the city that has been shuttered for more than a year due to the pandemic.

"Those efforts, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed during a press conference on Thursday, include a dedicated COVID-19 vaccination site on Broadway for theater industry workers. There will also be a mobile vaccination unit for off-Broadway employees.

"'It’s time to raise the curtain and bring Broadway back,' de Blasio said. He’s aiming to reopen Broadway by this fall.

"The city is also implementing pop-up coronavirus testing sites by Broadway theaters and are developing protocols to manage crowds before and after shows. Recovery for the Great White Way has been especially difficult because theaters bank on sold-out shows in tightly packed venues to operate profitably. It’s nearly impossible to generate enough revenues to keep the theater lights on and pay cast members, producers and employees with half-full auditoriums.

"Moreover, theater relies heavily on tourists to buy tickets — and the travel industry has also been impaired by the pandemic."

As someone who loves live theater, I would suggest that one thing de Blasio does not seem to understand is that he cannot reopen Broadway.  He can set the stage, but without instilling confidence in theatergoers that has us coming back to venues that tend to be crowded, the New York theater scene cannot reopen.    None of these venues wants to be held responsible for super-spreader events.

There's also the problem of economics.  Live theater is expensive, and there will be producers who will say that it simply is not economically feasible to open theaters at anything less than 100 percent capacity.